|Saint John NB: August 2022|
Highlights of the Bamboo Bicycle Expedition?
After 12,000 km on the support vehicle and 5,500 km in the saddle from Pacific to Atlantic, there are many memorable moments, but these are some of the highlights:
Geography and the Biking
· Massive climbs! Hope to Princeton: 3172 meters; and “Anarchist Hill” out of Osoyoos, another day with almost 2000 meters vertical.
· Screaming descents: Rossland to Trail BC; and Bridesville to Rock Creek BC
· Picking apples from branches overhanging the highway in the Okanogan
· Cycling in the snow! Nancy Green and Kootenay Passes
· Alberta’s Icefields and Bow Valley Parkways
· Huge tailwinds (we only had one such day, but it was a good one!) propelling Ross 300 km in a day between Maple Creek and Moose Jaw SK
· The floods of Manitoba
· The Group of Seven-esque scenery of Northeast Ontario and the rugged, stunning shorelines of lakes Superior and Huron
· Canada’s historic and stately capital, Ottawa
· The fabulous bike paths of the Eastern Townships; traditional farmhouses of Quebec (and of course, the bagels)
· The Banff-like ambiance of beautiful St. Andrews; and the bold and old grit of Saint John
· The 10 to 20 lanes of highway/parking lot that is the corridor from Toronto to Chicago (experienced on our return car trip to Calgary)
· The many people who took us in and graciously hosted us along the way
· Steve from Calgary, 4-time Cross-Canada cyclist
· Chad, who is walking across Canada (Sea-to-Sea for PTSD)
· The charming owner of the Parbeg Café (SK) who treated me to a Bible study along with $1 Velveeta cheese sandwiches
· Doug of the Johnson Fruit Market at Richler MB. The most passionate seller of produce I’ve ever met (and the best fruit ever!)
· Dave and Logan, road workers and fellow campers at Montreal River (Lake Superior) who were so fresh, wholesome and engaging. They loved our story…Logan ran back to his cabin to get cash for a donation
· Mark who was two days from completing his circumnavigation of each of the Great Lakes (a venture he started in the 1970’s)
· The three Hungarian “Evas” (grandma, daughter and granddaughter), operators (appropriately) of Eva’s Café and campground in Round Lake (ON)
· Jaseem and the staff of the Carolyn Beach hotel in beautiful Thessalon (ON); including young Sally who graciously laughed at Bernie’s jokes
· Jack, Joe and Bella on Cecibe Lake (ON) who treated us to inspiring stories, a campfire and a bottle of bourbon!
Questions and Answers
As you know, we have been asking people three questions and getting some interesting answers:
1. What do you LOVE about Canada?
-The freedom! The geographic and cultural diversity across the regions. The wilderness! Water, water everywhere. Opportunities for me and my family. Free healthcare, People are so nice (“It’s all ‘please’ and ‘thankyou’ and ‘sorry’”). The four seasons. Political and economic stability. Quality of life.
2. What do you LOVE about where you live in Canada?
-Well, there were too many answers to cover them all here, but a common theme was: “It’s home”.
3. [Because we were raising funds for kids living with disabilities]: Do you know someone living with a disability and can you tell me their story and how they are coping?
-Everyone we met knew someone living with a disability. From nerve disease to trauma (motorcycle, car accidents, a hockey injury, workplace accident), to MS, to Alzheimer’s and more
-The vast majority of the “living with a disability” stories we heard had at least some very positive outcomes. A common denominator in all stories was that those living with the disability had positive support from friends, family and/or community.
The Why behind the Expedition
Bernie and Ross took on the Cross-Canada BBE because we came to know kids living with disabilities on our last trip to Uganda. We wanted to support the great work that Embrace International Foundation and their Ugandan partner, Kyaninga Child Development Centre are doing there by raising funds to buy local bamboo wheelchairs and walkers. Just like individuals living with disabilities in Canada, these Ugandan children with disabilities (CwDs) need support. Unlike Canadian CwDs, this support is most often, simply not available.
According to government statistics, there are 2.5 million CwDs in Uganda (13% of children under 18 years). Only 9% of CwDs in Uganda enroll in primary school compared to the national average of 92%. There are many reasons for this appalling reality, but one key reason is the lack of mobility devices.
Will you help?
Thank you so much for following our wonderful adventure. Thank you to those who have supported our efforts. For those who have not, we ask you to would partner with us in giving the gift of mobility to these wonderful children.
1 Bamboo Wheelchair = $ 150
10 Bamboo Wheelchairs = $ 1500
1 Bamboo Walker = $ 50
10 Bamboo Walkers = $ 500
Your Support of Any Kind = Our Thanks + New Futures for Kids in Uganda
You can support our efforts through
the BBE by donating at https://www.embracecanada.ca/donate.
(Under "Fund?" select "Old Guys in Action Bamboo Bicycle Expedition".) Thanks!
The Old Guys in Action Cross-Canada Bamboo Bicycle Expedition is a fundraiser for Embrace International Foundation, a Canmore-based NGO that works with children living with disabilities in developing countries.